Ulster University will make its first ever appearance on the BBC’s University Challenge programme on Monday night

In the first episode of the new series, the Ulster team will face the experienced Edinburgh University, who have appeared on 16 out of the show’s last 23 series.

The team of mature students is drawn from all four Ulster University sites in Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Magee – and with an average age of 50 are also the oldest team in this year’s competition.

Captain Iain Jack, a pharmacology student from Peterhead, Scotland is joined by literature student Cathal McDaid from Co Donegal, Fine Art student Catherine Ritchie from Co Armagh and student of education Matthew Milliken from Co Down.

Matthew said the team would not be put off by host Jeremy Paxman’s fearsome reputation as quiz master.

“I’m sure he’s just a pussycat really,” he said.

“I’m more concerned about our opponents, Edinburgh. Obviously, we want to get as far as possible in the competition but this is a big first hurdle.”

“Unlike some other game shows there’s no financial incentive to do well, it’s all about pride. We are immensely proud to be representing Ulster University and we will do our level best to make the university proud of us.”

He added: “It would be great to get as many people as possible to tune in on Monday at 8pm to cheer us on from their armchairs and sofas – even if they may have attended the other place (Queens).”

Ahead of the show, he gave a cryptic clue to their chosen mascot’s name: Confused Ulster are looking for one. The answer will be on the programme.

In September last year, Queen’s University failed to reach the second round of the household programme after a comprehensive defeat by Birmingham University.

In 2015 they reached the second round, with a quarter-final finish in 2013.

Fittingly, Queen’s won the competition in 1981 against Edinburgh, Ulster’s opponents next week.

The programme airs on Monday night at 8pm.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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